Social Media Campaign Stat Box
: Carlton Drought "Any Excuse" Campaign
: Products and services
: 18-30 year old men
: March 2010
: a week
The beer brand, Carlton Draught, is part of the Foster’s Group, an Australian brand that has garnered quite the reputation for themselves on the internet amongst marketers. They has been thoroughly successful in navigating the internet noise farm and able to generate a lot of attention for their campaigns.
One of the best examples of their successes on the internet is their “Big Beer Ad” commercial which went viral after its premier in 2005. The greatest testament to the level of the ad’s success is that it was downloaded 162,000 during the first 24 hours of its release achieving the company’s aim of making a viral ad campaign.
Their latest undertaking is the installment of their “Made from Beer” campaign which was pinned to premiere on TV in February.
What is it about?
After investing close to $200,000 dollars in fees and production on a series of 7 advertisements, and close to the date of their premiere on TV in late February, the company decided that the ads are too risque for TV and decided to pull them off TV and onto the web.
They created a dedicated site for the advertisements anyexcuse.com.au and put them up there in hopes that the web will enable them to target their audience more precisely.
The ads feature a trio of oddballs single folk songs about how the urge for beer manifests itself in different parts of the body, with lyrics that are both cute and funny. One of my favorites goes on like this “Your weenis, your weenis, it’s wrinkly and it’s pink. Your weenis, your weenis, it’s not what you might think!“. The commercials are really catchy and funny but they didn’t seem all that risque for TV.
As the internet started buzzing about the campaign, something that would be the goal of any marketer, and traffic started to pour in on the website, the management at Foster’s decided to pull the plug on the ads and closed down the site! A Foster’s spokesperson was short and blunt in his statement saying “The ad and the campaign is finished. We have nothing further to say.”
There is little explanation for the reason why they pulled the plug, it might have been that they feared a PR backlash for their ads because they considered them risque. However, the fact of the matter is it takes a lot more than sexual innuendos to offend the people on the internet.
The whole debacle is an embarrassment for the Carlton brand and exemplifies the indecision and confusion that is occurring in the marketing division of the company. Instead of embracing the web as a medium where they can experiment with new and exciting ideas, like they did 5 years ago, they sought to use it as testing grounds and damage control mechanism.
Given the company’s track record on the internet with their great adverts, people and blogs started talking about the campaign immediately. Nielson’s Blog pulse shows a considerable spike in the number of posts about Carlton Draught in March.
Also, people on Twitter were already sharing the campaign and expressing their opinion about it but all of that was cut short and made it harder to get hold of the campaign after the closing down of the anyexcuse.com website. It is currently available on Youtube but has limited exposure.
Why did it do what it did?
Now the quality of the ad, whether good or bad, is completely non sequitor especially since it was trumped by the storm of indecisiveness and confusion that surrounded the campaign. As ads, they would have garnered enough attention and had the potential to go viral but they were not given the chance to do so. If the whole thing was an act in order to create controversy and buzz around the ads to hype it up, then it was an abysmal attempt and fell flat on its face.
The only thing that the campaign has created is a gloomy cloud around a much loved brand on the internet, basically chipping away at its reputation of being a fresh and forward-looking brand. Some of their mistakes:
- The internet is a crass and cut throat environment and the tolerance level of its audience is worlds apart from that on TV. That should let your creative juices flow and let you take risks that you are not used to on TV spots. Cowering away from the internet out of fear of negative reception is only a recipe for more backlash.
- Have a united vision and strategy for your marketing divisions across various parts of the group and communicate well amongst different division. This is not only applicable for web marketing campaign but any other campaigns. What makes it crucial for web marketing campaigns is that every move is monitored by your fans and they will be your harshest critics.
What do you think of the campaign? Do you think it had a chance to succeed or were they right in pulling the plug on it? Let us hear your thoughts.